One of my favorite young friends occasionally manages to turn kind and encouraging words into unintended insults.
He recently scanned an article about “muffin tops,” one of the many terrible effects of gravity acting on middle-aged human bodies. If you shop at Costco you know what I’m talking about. My friend, however, only picked up on the “muffin” part of the phenomenon, and not the “top” which spills out of the containment of the muffin tin.
My friend and his lovely, trim wife were getting dressed to go out. As she styled her hair, her top rode up to expose her midriff. Thinking of the tapered shape of the “muffin” he remarked, “Hey, there’s your little muffin top.” She was not amused, and issued his sentence on the spot: tell all of his female co-workers what he had done, and suffer the ensuing ridicule. He did, and all is well.
Happily, these friends have a marriage that works and a wonderful ability to laugh at themselves. Needless to say, he has eliminated “muffin top” from his list of complimentary terms to use with his wife.